Canada relaxes restrictions on mobile devices in flight

Posted May 26, 2014, at 8:43 p.m.

OTTAWA — Canada followed the lead of the United States and the European Union, Monday, relaxing official restrictions on using mobile devices in flight while maintaining a ban on transmitting information.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said air passengers could now use smartphones, cameras, electronic games, tablets and computers throughout a flight. Under current Canadian rules, all such devices must be shut down during takeoff and landing.

Passengers, however, will only be able to enjoy the new freedom if the airline on which they are flying updates safety manuals and can guarantee all passengers are able to follow crew instructions during takeoff and landings.

“We wouldn’t have approved this if we were concerned that it would affect either the safety of air travelers or of crews,” Raitt told a news conference.

She also said the ban on sending or receiving emails and phone calls in flight would remain in place.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced similar measures for users of personal electronic devices last October.

The European Union followed suit in December.